Covered in Coal in West Virginia (Video Gallery)

Covered in Coal in West Virginia (Video Gallery)

Every time you turn on your lights, you should think about the 29 miners who lost their lives in the April 5, 2010, explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, W.Va.

The statement above is paraphrasing the remarks of coalminer Kevin Lambert, who was interviewed on CBS shortly after the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy. As we come up on the four-year anniversary of the accident, we’re remembering the miners who died in the explosion, as well as all the other miners who have lost their lives while providing for their families – and supplying fuel for the electricity that powers our lives.

The first video (below) is a touching tribute to the fallen Upper Big Branch miners, set to the music of “Covered in Coal” by the Blackwater Outlaws. As we try to honor the lives of these 29 men, the song lyrics say it better than we ever could:

He packs his bucket on Monday morning
Another long week down at the mine
And he ain't ready to go back to work
But he's on a company's time
He don't do it for greed or pleasure
He ain't chasing no pot of gold
He's in a hole in West Virginia
Because he's got two little babies at home

It's amazing what we'll do
Just to provide
A home for our children
And try to give 'em a better life
He ain't never been perfect
But he's perfect in their eyes
He's covered in coal in West Virginia
With his babies on his mind

Comes home tired everyday
Covered in sweat, tattoos, and scars
Somehow he finds the energy
To romp and play out in the yard
Dodgeball, leap frog, and tag-you're-it
He loves the smiles and laughs and those giggle fits
Come tonight he'll tuck 'em into bed
Get up in the morning and start it all over again

It's amazing what we'll do
Just to provide
A home for our children
And try to give 'em a better life
He ain't never been perfect
But he's perfect in their eyes
He's covered in coal in West Virginia
With his babies on his mind

Like his daddy and his daddy before him
He's doing all he's ever known
He came back from the service
Got a hat and a light and went straight underground
Each shift he works he ain't but six inches from Hell
He's seen a lot of good men give it all
And he draws his pay on Friday morning
Well he might stumble but he ain't gonna fall

It's amazing what we'll do
Just to provide
A home for our children
And try to give 'em a better life
He ain't never been perfect
But he's perfect in their eyes
He's covered in coal in West Virginia
With his babies on his mind

He's covered in coal in West Virginia
And the sun is on the rise

'You're Not Gonna Find a Safe Mine'

Every time you turn on your lights, you should think about the 29 men who died in the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion, coalminer Kevin Lambert said in a memorable interview on CBS after the accident.

'West Virginia's Tears in 2010'

Posted by Serena Ellison, a coalminer's daughter from Beckley, W.Va., this video tribute is a montage of photos of the 29 miners who died in the Upper Big Branch explosion.

'A Ride into Hell'

CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon describes his 25-minute journey into the bowels of a coalmine as "a ride into hell." The "60 Minutes" segments offers a brief glimpse into a coalmining operation and the hazards that miners face.

Obama's Eulogy for the Fallen Miners

"Our hearts have been aching with you," President Obama said during an April 25, 2010, memorial service for the fallen Upper Big Branch miners.

One Year After

Part 1 of a WVNS-TV special looks back at the timeline of events on April 5, 2010.

'The True Story of the Upper Big Branch Mine'

Tommy Davis lost his son, his brother and a nephew in the Upper Big Branch explosion. In this emotional WVNS-TV news segment, Davis said he can hear his son telling him, "Pops, get off your can and [get in the mine]. This is what we do." Before they entered the mine on April 5, 2010, Davis told his son that he loved him; his son responded, "I love you too, old man. I'm gonna get me some coal."

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